30 November 2013
The ilustrado class failed this nation, the labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) declared on the 150th birth anniversary of the plebeian hero, Andres Bonifacio.
The group, which joined the broader labor coalition Nagkaisa! in a march to Mendiola today, compared the country’s present rulers -- the corrupt, traditional politicians (trapos) -- to that of the ilustrados and “lahi ni Legazpi” described then by Bonifacio in his “Ang Dapat Mabatid ng mga Tagalog”, as a race we allowed to live “most bountifully and lavishly” while we ourselves suffered deprivation and hunger.
PM Chair Renato Magtubo made this parallelism in the face of unaddressed problems of poverty and inequality in the country under the more than a century of uninterrupted rule of elite regimes. “Today, an elite club of 50 richest Pinoys controls more than half of our nation’s wealth, their combined wealth equivalent to a year’s income of 31 million minimum wage earners. While the elite live bountifully and lavishly, majority of our people remain jobless, homeless and hungry,” stated Magtubo.
Bonifacio day rallies were also staged by PM in Cebu City where workers marched around downtown Colon and in Bacolod where factory and agricultural workers held a program at the city plaza.
The labor leader added that the gaping inequality and deepening poverty in the country is made worse by the devastating impacts of climate crisis and the government’s inability to effectively respond to them as manifested in the case of Yolanda.
Magtubo pointed out further that even the “haring bayan” or “sovereign people” concept which was the idea of democratic rule by Bonifacio during that time, remains a dream as the country continues to be ruled by ilustrados which metamorphosed into what is called today as “trapos.”
“These trapos do not have the vision of Bonifacio’s ‘kasaganaan and kaginhawahan’ (abundance and prosperity) as their concerns revolve around selfish greed,” said Magtubo, pointing to the high level corruption scandals involving high officials of the land.
The labor group averred that the situation could have been different today had Bonifacio and the Katipunan movement gained complete freedom from colonial powers and democratic institutions were formed and truly ruled by the sovereign people.
“Unfortunately the old colonialism was only supplanted by modern globalization in which processes are captured by imperialist nations. And the country’s rulers just changed clothes,” explained Magtubo.
The struggle, he said, continues with workers willing to carry on with the tasks of realizing Katipunan’s vision of kalayaan, kasaganaan, at kaginhawahan.